With 2021 drawing to a close, now is the time to look ahead and start setting your industrial marketing plan for the future. Upgrading your digital tools and supplementing your traditional tactics puts your manufacturing company in a better position for lead generation.
Here are ways you can boost your manufacturing marketing strategy to meet the changing needs of today's buyers and get more qualified leads.
B2B Manufacturing Marketing Strategies That Get More Business
Industrial digital marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it discipline and one of the most important components to its success is your website. Moreover, according to a Thomas industrial survey, 73% of B2B buyers surveyed said they pay attention to a supplier’s website.
Some manufacturers hire a website designer to update their website and then leave the website as is thinking the job is done. But Google favors websites that get updated regularly and places them at the top of search results — especially when strategic SEO and relevant keywords are in place.
Here are a few quick ways you can keep your website ranking healthy, but we'll dive more into specifics later in this post:
- Post a monthly blog with tips on how to solve your prospects' problems (we have a list of blog ideas here!)
- Use videos to keep visitors on your website longer
- Make your content skimmable and break up long pieces of copy with high-quality graphics and images
2. Create Industry-Focused Content For Your Buyers
Most manufacturing companies put lead generation front and center when setting their industrial marketing strategies. That's certainly understandable; after all, generating qualified leads is the entire purpose of digital marketing. However, instead of focusing on meeting your goals, it's important to also focus on meeting your buyers' goals. Keeping this in mind as you update your manufacturing marketing strategy is key to success.
Most manufacturers and industrial companies today connect with engineers, procurement managers, and MROs. Understanding those B2B buyers — their challenges, habits, and processes — can help you better align the great content you are developing to meet their needs and drive new business.
One specific way you can put your buyers first is by creating content for their industry that makes their jobs easier. For example, buyers in the defense industry are concerned with counterfeit parts, inaccurate data, and incomplete quotes. Alleviate their concerns with an industry-relevant website page labeled for the aerospace and defense industry that details your product data, sizing dimensions, performance curves, etc.
"Some aerospace technology can be complex, but our graphics, data sheets, and videos from Thomas Marketing Services break it down for buyers to understand what they need and how we help them," said Eoin Lynch, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Tex Tech Industries.
In the website content marketing example below, Tex Tech supplements their text-based content with detailed graphics to further showcase the quality of their materials and how they solve common industry challenges.
Here's another manufacturing marketing strategy example — E2Global, a provider of turnkey consumable manufacturing services, sought to expand its growth strategy beyond traditional in-person selling.
The team understood that the key to success in today's world is to embrace digital efforts across their sales & marketing strategies. When presented with a cost-effective advertising & marketing solution from Thomas that worked for them 24/7, they decided to invest in expanding their reach.
“Our way of selling and our prospects’ style of buying was no longer aligning,” said Brad Godwin, CEO of E2Global. “Buyers want to be educated at their own pace and they don’t want to be immediately sold to, so we had to move from that. There’s a difference between a company that would buy our products and a company that’s actively in the market to buy our products. So we wanted to find a way to eliminate those who were not looking and focus on those who were in the market for what we offer now.”
In a short time, buyers became highly engaged with E2Global’s new online presence and received early results with RFQs from big brands like Medline and Colgate/Palmolive.
➡️ Read The Full Case Study: How One Custom Manufacturer Increased Revenue By 4x With Thomasnet.com Advertising & Digital Marketing
3. Invest In Video Production Services
In today's digitally connected world, video marketing is a big deal. According to Cisco, by 2021 video will account for 80 percent of all internet traffic, making it by far the most dominant form of digital content. But in addition to being dominant, it's also really effective. Video marketers get 83% more qualified leads per year and 80% say that video marketing has helped increase sales.
If you aren't investing in video marketing yet, or if you've merely dipped your toes in the water, it's time to take the plunge. According to HubSpot's 2020 State of Marketing report, video beat out heavyweight contenders like email, blogging, and infographics as the most used type of marketing content. Marketers who incorporate video into their content strategies have seen 49% faster revenue growth than those who don’t. Fortunately, there are many tools and resources that make it easy to get started with video marketing.
Today, manufacturers partner with marketing experts to create videos to help sell industrial products and share their brand stories. See 17 videos of industrial companies here for more inspiration.
4. Test Your Website's Forms To Increase Conversions
Constantly improving upon your efforts keeps you ahead of competitors. That may sound like a pretty big undertaking, but a big tip to redefining your manufacturer marketing strategy to is embrace the power of small tests.
Iterative testing, or A/B testing, is the process of creating two (or more) versions of digital marketing assets to determine which performs better. You can apply these tests throughout your digital marketing footprint — on your manufacturing website, in your emails, within your PPC ads, etc.
Let's look at a real A/B test from a manufacturer's landing page. Studies show people look at the left side of the screen ﬁrst. We tested form alignment to help draw more attention to the form and increase submissions. Variation A (our control) had the form on the right, while Variation B had the form moved to the left.
The conversion rate more than doubled with Variation B! While Variation B is the clear winner in this particular experiment, our testing and optimization eﬀorts didn’t stop there; our team is continuing this test with another subtle change to ensure we’ve optimized the page to the fullest.
"We tried other people with our website, SEO, marketing but found their focus wasn't on manufacturing, and Thomas is. We get a lot of activity now and steady results weekly — a lot of inquiries thanks to Thomas and our online marketing efforts," Ron Delfini, President at Engineering Specialties, Inc.
5. Take Your Manufacturing Brand Seriously
Your company is so much more than a provider of industrial goods or services. Maybe it's an unparalleled beacon of quality, a hub for innovation, a spark for essential causes, or something else entirely. Whatever your company is, you need to let B2B buyers know it — through brand marketing.
Effective branding can help set you apart from your competitors in a crowded marketplace and make you more relatable and trustworthy to potential customers. Best of all, a strong manufacturing brand builds trust and makes it easier to connect with buyers. Everything from your shop floor to how your receptionist answers the phone to the Google reviews of your company is part of your brand. As we've mentioned before, videos are a great way of boosting your presence online while also connecting with prospective buyers. We can't stress it enough because 89% of viewers are likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
Create a company profile video that shares your company’s purpose, the customers you serve, the industries they’re in, and how your industrial products and services solve their problems. Add it to your About Us page on your website and your Thomasnet.com company profile listing so buyers can understand the type of people they can expect to do business with.
Read More: The Must-Haves On Your About Us Page
"Through eBooks, blogs, a revamped website — they actually drive our own knowledge out and customers appreciate the insight," said Jeff Collins, Partner at Renown Electric Motors & Repair. "A key thing about Thomas is the ability to generate a lot of leads across various industries. As a marketing department of one, it has been really helpful to have marketing experts supported by engineers to help with our manufacturing marketing strategy as opposed to making it up as we go." Renown's new website product pages are ranking #1 on search results and have contributed to new sales growth.
Thomas can review your website for free with our Digital Health Check and let you know how you compare against competitors.
6. Move Beyond Basic Marketing Analytics
Since the term digital marketing was first coined, marketers have been trying to determine the ROI of their efforts. But you know what? Most have been doing a pretty bad job of it. What really counts is your ability to generate leads.
Recently, we polled more than 600 manufacturers and industrial companies across the U.S. to learn what's going on in their marketing and sales and we found that almost 35% of manufacturers surveyed are not using an analytics tool like Google Analytics or Thomas WebTrax.
Thomas WebTrax lets you track who's interacting with your online presence, and where they are in the buying journey. "Thomas WebTrax™ is an excellent tool for identifying visiting companies and allowing our salespeople to engage them in their research phase, resulting in promising relationships," said Ron Fladwood, Corporate Marketing at Trace-A-Matic. "I tested 7 to 10 of the 'Best' website visitor identification software available, and WebTrax outperformed them all in the amount of and accuracy of companies identified." — Request Access To WebTrax Here
How's Your Manufacturing Marketing Strategy Faring?
The past couple of years have strengthened the phrase, "Anything can happen." Keep your manufacturing business strong with a marketing strategy built around your buyers' needs, habits, and intent signals.
Want to continue bringing in business all year round? Contact us for a free Digital Health Check so you can learn from the experts what your business is doing right and where you can improve. (Oh! And we know some of it can be a lot to handle — don't worry, because our industrial digital marketing experts are supported by degreed engineers who can do all the work for you!)
Thomas has tons of free resources for manufacturers available, designed specifically for companies like you. For a more in-depth look at updating your growth methods, check out some of the links below:
- The Complete Handbook: The Ultimate Guide To A Marketing Strategy For Manufacturers
- Converting Traffic To Customers: The Three Growth Stages Of Industrial Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing Services From Thomas To Build Your Manufacturing Marketing Strategy:
- Content Marketing
- Lead Generation
- Email Marketing
- Website Design
- SEO Services
- eCommerce and Online Product Catalog
- Pay-Per-Click and Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media
- CAD Solutions
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